A new bus route numbered 301 will launch this weekend running from Bexleyheath to Abbey Wood then onto Thamesmead and Woolwich. I covered it extensively a couple of days ago.
Since then the timetable has been revealed. Is the new route quick enough to tempt people to travel on a bus to Abbey Wood then take Crossrail when it finally starts?
Well, from Bexleyheath town centre to Abbey Wood it will take 21 minutes in the morning peak. On a train, 21 minutes after leaving Bexleyheath station a commuter on some services is already almost at London Bridge.
Bear in mind travelling for 21 minutes to Abbey Wood then requires getting off a bus, walking into the station then down onto a Crossrail train and is it worth it – especially with that change?
When it comes to reaching the City, a train to Liverpool Street is another 15+ minutes from Abbey Wood. That makes for 40 minutes in total on bus then Crossrail versus exactly the same time with no change on a Southeastern service to Cannon Street.
Of course Crossrail will serve many more destinations and enable people to take jobs in more locations (and have better frequencies) but for existing commuters working around London Bridge, Canary Wharf, the City (Cannon Street) or West End will it see mass changes?
Say you work at Canary Wharf, currently you could take a train for 20 minutes from Bexleyheath to Lewisham (at least eight trains an hour) then change onto DLR (every few minutes) for 15 minutes. Or take a bus for 21 minutes then change for Crossrail and 10 minutes to Canary Wharf. There’s basically very little in it. It comes down to where you set off and where you work and many established patterns are set.
This isn’t to put a downer on Crossrail which will be a fantastic improvement and open up work in places all over London, but the grand plans of some transport planners that many commuters will switch seems a tad optimistic – for those on the Bexleyheath and Sidcup lines anyway.
Which could be a problem given mass housing plans near stations on those lines and the hope many passengers will shift to Crossrail.
See revised plans for 1,300 homes in Kidbrooke covered today (taking total numbers to 5,300) and 618 more set to be approved next week in a separate scheme, along with a 35-storey tower due to be approved beside Lewisham station next week.